I’ve lived in some terrible places before: there was the four foot wide “bedroom” that was actually a display closet for collectible plates, with one entire wall of built-in cubbies, and not enough room to open the door unless I tipped my twin mattress up on its side. Then there was the unfinished basement with crumbling walls, one extension cord for all my electricity needs, and so many silverfish that I had to sleep under mosquito netting. But this place – this place is clearly worse than any of those holes-in-the-wall. I genuinely believe that this place is the worst apartment on earth.
Most people use square footage as their main standard, but in reality there are many very small apartments that are actually quite charming. Then there are the lightless, dank basements (a market which the District has got thoroughly cornered), but even those, as depressing and black-moldy as they can sometimes get, are at least comprehensible. A basement was meant for, like, root storage; of course it makes a terrible living space.
This Athens, Ohio apartment, though, is a forehead slapper. What is it? I literally don’t know what it is. When I saw these photos, my first thought was of the excellent nonfiction book “Devil In the White City,” about the dastardly Chicago construction magnate H.H. Holmes, who built a whole series of secret maze-like torture chambers in his mansion, complete with trapdoors and bewildering dead ends. That’s right, I’m comparing this place to a serial killer’s murder house.
Let’s look at the photos.
“Wow, this house looks awesome, I get to live there?!”
Oh no no no, your place is down here, down the stone staircase where they filmed the scene in “Lord of the Rings” where the two hobbits descended into Mordor. Good luck bringing someone home to this staircase at night …“If you lived here, you’d already be home – and cripplingly depressed.” I can’t imagine a less welcoming hallway. I’ve been to jail. This is what jail looks like.First, the kitchen. If you open the oven and refrigerators doors at the same time, you’ll cause a breach in the space-time continuum.If you’ve got 350 bottles of wine, there’s a rack for them. Makes sense, you’ll be drinking a lot if you end up living here.Okay, through the kitchen is the living roo-WHAT IS THIS PLACE? No seriously, what is this place? This is the type of lighting that makes everyone look like they haven’t slept for three days. Also, I’ve seen enough Japanese horror movies to know that behind each of those doors is the tortured spirit of a murdered young girl. Do NOT open those doors, EVER.Another shot of the “living room.” I swear this is the set of a Charlie Kaufman movie. Don’t worry, every wall isn’t covered in haunted Kafka-doors, one of them is just a blank windowless expanse of nothing. This room is like a metaphor for life. “You can go through one of these many doors that lead nowhere, or you can choose the void.” Moving on …Oh nice, another penal facility-style hallway. Is this a bomb shelter? I would actually feel much less uncomfortable if this was a bomb shelter. (But then what are all the doors for?)“We didn’t want you to get bored while you were walking down that long windowless hallway, so we put in some more doors for no reason.”Here’s the bedroom. Yes, that’s a trapdoor in the ceiling and a drain in the floor. This is the part of the apartment tour when you’d start casually saying stuff like, “M-my girlfriend is gonna think it’s weird if she doesn’t hear from me pretty soon, she may even just show up at the door since I gave her the address of where I was going.”
Just looking at this floor plan makes me doubt everything I thought I knew about life. Hold me, I’m feeling vulnerable.